THE number of young people taking cocaine in Strabane is on the increase, a drug and alcohol awareness group has warned.
Centre manager at HURT (Have Your Tomorrows), Dessie Kyle believes the class A drug’s new prevalence in the town is on a par with its increasing popularity across the north-west.
Mr Kyle was speaking on the back of warnings from a local mother whose teenage son reported various incidents of people taking cocaine on St Patrick’s night and also being offered cocaine to buy.
Contacting this newspaper so as to warn other parents to be aware that cocaine is becoming more and more available, the local mum – who preferred not to be named – said she was shocked at her son’s recent experience.
“I couldn’t believe what my son was telling me,” the local mother remarked. “He went out on a Saturday night and he says there were young ones making no attempt to hide the fact they were taking cocaine. It was being sold freely and anybody that wanted to buy could have had some.”
She added, “Maybe it’s a mistake that parents from Strabane make. You don’t associate the drug with being around here but that definitely isn’t the case anymore. Parents need to be aware of what’s happening. It’s shocking, really shocking that cocaine and other drugs are so freely available. Our children are more and more exposed to it.”
Corroborating the local mother’s concerns, Dessie Kyle says HURT are acutely aware that cocaine is being abused locally.
“There is an increase in cocaine use in Derry, in Strabane – it’s everywhere. Strabane is no different than anywhere else.
“People often ask us what the drug of choice is. But the drug of choice is whatever drug is available. Cocaine is about and it’s on the increase. All it takes is for one person in Strabane to get a hold of a bag of cocaine and that’s it.
“We are aware of it in Strabane. I wouldn’t say it’s on every street corner but it’s there.”
According to Mr Kyle, who recently addressed a drug and alcohol awareness event for community groups in Strabane, whilst cocaine is dangerous enough on its own, when it is consumed alongside alcohol it becomes particularly dangerous.
“It’s very dangerous when it’s mixed with alcohol because it can have a multiplying affect,” he said. “It can be lethal.”
HURT (Have Your Tomorrows) is a voluntary organisation supporting individuals and their family who have been impacted negatively by drug/alcohol problems. HURT treatment centre offers a confidential; non-judgmental approach to those affected by dependency and addiction.
For more information log onto hurtni.org.uk